DC-area traffic changes, Metro work to watch for this weekend

diamond design, i-95
Diverging diamond design of the new interchange in Stafford County, Virginia. (Courtesy VDOT)

The long-term weekend closure of Wiehle-Reston East, Red Line single-tracking and a number of traffic changes are among things to look out for this weekend.

There will also be major bus changes coming up for commuters around Prince William County, Virginia.

Metro

On Metro, Wiehle-Reston East is closed essentially every Saturday and Sunday into March for work to link up the Silver Line extension to Dulles International Airport and Loudoun County, Virginia, expected to open late next year.

On the Red Line, trains are single-tracking Saturday and Sunday between Friendship Heights and Medical Center. Trains are scheduled every 16 minutes, with additional trains between Van Ness, downtown Silver Spring and Glenmont.

Expect continued disruptions of Fairfax Connector bus service and certain Metrobus service in Northern Virginia due to ongoing strikes.

Weekend road closures

A number of holiday runs, parades and lighting events will close roads at different times this weekend.

In Alexandria, Virginia, the Scottish Christmas Walk parade starts at 11 a.m. Saturday in Old Town. Holiday boat parades between Alexandria and The Wharf are also scheduled for Saturday night.

In downtown Fredericksburg, the Christmas parade closes some streets starting around 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

In Baltimore, a half-marathon closes roads Saturday morning.

Numerous construction work zones also continue across the region, with lane closures or other disruptions.

Long-term traffic changes begin

On Saturday morning, a new “diverging diamond” interchange opens over Interstate 95 at Exit 140 in Stafford, Virginia. The shift to the new interchange at Courthouse Road/Va. 630 will require some brief 15 to 30 minute closures of Courthouse Road around 7 a.m.

The new interchange puts drivers on the “wrong” side of the road to eliminate the need for left-turn arrows.

Next week, drivers in Frederick, Maryland, will finally see Monocacy Boulevard fully reopen over the Monocacy River. It has been closed for more than two years for bridge construction and widening work that was originally scheduled to be done this past spring.

The road is expected to open Wednesday, weather permitting.

Drivers have been detoured onto Route 15 and other roads, adding to traffic there.

Bus changes around Prince William Co. start Monday

The biggest overhaul ever of PRTC bus service takes effect Monday.

All OmniRide Express commuter buses will see schedule adjustments, and all buses in western Prince William County will see routes changed.

Changes also bring OmniRide’s first paratransit service, OmniRide Access, to the Manassas and Manassas Park areas, since OmniRide Local buses will no longer make off-route trips.

In western Prince William County, all local buses will follow entirely new routes, and buses are being relabeled with route names that use numbers.

It is the first major change to OmniRide Local routes in the two decades or so since the system was laid out.

The changes include a new transfer hub in downtown Manassas, near the Prince William County Courthouse, and another transfer hub at the Manassas Park VRE Station.

The scale of the change could make it complicated initially for some regular riders to sort out the easiest and quickest ways to get around, but could also draw more riders to the system.

OmniRide Local bus routes serving Manassas and Manassas Park will be free from Monday through March 15, 2020.

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